Artists Interviews

March 2009: Team

Fiona Whelan on her art background

Fiona Whelan discusses her art background and the pivotal points that have assisted the development of her practice. She shares how and in what capacity she initially began engaging in Rialto and describes the main elements of the communication process with the Rialto Youth Project that have led to a collaborative, collective practice.

Comments about this interview

  • I really liked this interview and the video too. It’s truly inspirational - it would be fun to have these wonderful kids meet the Irish kids we all teach. May their dreams of the revolution all come true!
  • "What is an early years aesthetic?" is a really interesting question. It’s incredibly difficult to direct under 4s or pre schoolers in any structured art work. Frequently they’ll reject any guidance- one young boy told me one day that it wasn’t my turn to decide what to do.

    I also believe it’s unnecessary.
    Whether it’s in singing, drawing or dancing pre school children are transmitting their direct experience of the world.

    Ask a three year old to draw anything and they’ll do it-no questions asked. there might be no light and shadow no shading, no proportion or perspective -not becasue they haven’t learned it yet but because they don’t need it. Afew years later and the same child will be drawing not their direct experience but that experience filtered through all sorts of Adult imposed ideas of how a drawing should be.

    I think you can offer all sorts of artistic experiences to pre schoolers but don’t try to direct them- they don’t need it.

    I really enjoy working with pre schoolers but I really think that adult artists have much more to learn from young children than they do from us.

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